After getting physically beaten by the Marmara passengers last June, the Israeli Navy Seals commando unit has decided to strengthen hand-to-hand combat training for its fighters. To this end, they have begun training at facilities of the Israel Security Agency (Shabak).

Pictures of the commando sea fighters being violently beaten and bleeding on the Marmara like the one to the left may have helped the Israeli PR effort in clarifying to the world that these were violent terrorists, but at the same time they exposed a serious problem on the issue of hand-to-hand combat, aside from being and embarrassment to the IDF and the Jewish people.

After discussions that took place for the purpose of deriving conclusions from the incident, it was decided to intensify training at Shabak facilities that will train the soldiers to deal with similar battles in the future.

Despite the praise that was heaped on the naval commandos by Reserve General Giora Eiland among others, who said that the “behavior of the navy seals is deserving of admiration and in certain instances even praise,” other investigations that were conducted revealed serious professional gaps in the area of hand-to-hand combat.

The result: The last month has seen more and more naval commandos at two Shabak facilities in the Israel’s heartland, where they are coming to improve their battle skills. The classes are being held for both active commandos and those that have already completed the commando track.

“A serious gap has been exposed.”

The Shabak’s martial arts instructors are world-renowned for their professionalism and quality in training the best units the Defense department has. “The navy seal commandos have in the past gone through Shabak facilities and watched basic demonstrations, but it has lately been decided to intensify the level of training and frequency in order to be able to respond to activity in a civilian context,” a naval officer was quoted as saying, referring to the flotilla incident as a civilian context. “There is no doubt that a serious gap has been exposed here and we must incrementally close it.”

A defense official added: “The objective of the navy seal commandos is not to fight civilians on a boat, but because the Gaza flotillas are a clear threat, new thinking is required here. We wanted to raise the level of professionalism in hand-to-hand combat capabilities that are designed to neutralize attackers in seconds without using live weapons as was eventually required on the Marmara.”

The goal, then, is to be able to neutralize future threats without killing any of the terrorists.